[before breaking open a door in terrorist apartment]
Ronald Fleury: Which side do you think Allah's on?
Colonel Faris Al Ghazi: We are about to find out!
A well made crime drama taking place in Saudi Arabia, with some great action and a little political drama thrown in. Its basically a better made CSI espisode, taking place in the middle east with some hand held camera gun play at work and succeeding.
After a terrorist attack takes place within Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom, involving the deaths of many, including a few FBI agents, an FBI Special Agent played by Jamie Foxx goes through some lengths to get himself and three other agents into the country, to investigate the bombings themselves.
Ronald Fleury: I want in immediately.
Prince Thamer: Define immediately.
Ronald Fleury: Right the fuck now immediately.
Among the team are Chris Cooper as the wise older member who knows his bombs, Jason Bateman as the smarmy younger agent, and Jennifer Garner, a fellow agent who was married to one of the victims.
There mission leads them to an officer in the Saudi police played by Ashraf Barhom. He is a man who believes in his country, and while at first doesn't want the help of the US, develops as a more open individual, who knows everyone wants to do their job and get justice, he's actually the best character in this movie, giving the best performance and having the most personality.
Colonel Faris Al Ghazi: I'm forty-two years old. I have two daughters and a son. Beautiful son. And I find myself in a place where I no longer care about why we are attacked. I only care that one hundred people woke up a few mornings ago, and had no idea it was their last. When we catch the man who murdered these people, I don't care to ask even one question. I want to kill him. Do you understand?
Ronald Fleury: Yes, I do.
Jeremy Piven also has a small role as a US representative, who wants to do everything he can to make the US team look good, then get them the hell out of there. Other small roles include Richard Jenkins in an effective role as the head FBI guy back in the US, Kyle Chandler, and Danny Huston.
Despite the action heavy trailer, this movie is very much about being a detective story, given an upgrade by having a team of FBI agents investigating a sun dried town and the bad guys being terrorists. It is also has a good buddy movie element between Foxx and Ashraf Barhom's Saudi officer.
The real action doesn't kick in till the last half hour, but when it does, it is handled well. This movie gets the Michael Mann seal of approval for having a gritty approach that is not over done, is not too technical, but looks damn great on the big screen.
Director Peter Berg does a good job letting the movie take its time to develop the issues and characters, before leading to its frantic finale. I am actually quite enjoying the diversive genre work of this director, who even pops up for a small role early on.
While the plot may be wrapped up a little easily, this is a well made picture, that does good work with the little moments along with the bigger stuff. The movie also should be sold as something that should enlighten you on Saudi tradition, however there is an opening credit sequence that does a very good job at updating the viewer on some Saudi history.
[After a brief scuffle in which Fleury defends Haytham]
Haytham: Are you alright?
Fleury: No, are you alright? Your the one that got slapped.